Microsoft Surface 2 Review: A Tablet / Keyboard Duo Worthy of a Second Chance

After some big improvements, does Microsoft’s Surface finally rival the iPad?

Nov. 1, 2013 — -- You can say Microsoft’s original Surface tablet was a bit of a box office flop. The company’s first tablet aimed to offer a list of things the iPad didn’t – Microsoft Office, a nice keyboard companion and some interesting multitasking features -- but most people didn’t quite see it that way. Microsoft ultimately dropped the price on the tablet to move stock and took a $900 million write-down on unsold inventory.

The tablet still has its signature built-in kickstand, though Microsoft has added another latch to allow it to sit back a bit further. It might seem like a small thing, but it allowed me to write the brunt of this review in an airplane seat with the tablet comfortably propped up on my lap. However, the biggest aesthetic difference you’ll only notice when you lift up the tablet and see that is now .35 inches thick and 1.49 pounds. No, that’s nowhere as near as thin or light as Apple’s 1-pound iPad Air and still doesn’t allow for one-handed use, but it’s a substantial improvement over the last generation.

Touch and Type Covers

“This is not just a tablet,” or it’s “the one device for everything in your life.” Every ad for the Surface features the Touch or Type keyboard covers with just such a tagline. However, what Microsoft doesn’t say in those advertisements is that the keyboard cover isn’t included and it costs at least an extra $100 to turn the tablet into a laptop.